Digital wallet scheme 'coming in May'
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Digital wallet scheme 'coming in May'

Prommin: Policy part of bigger picture
Prommin: Policy part of bigger picture

The government insisted on Wednesday that its promised digital wallet scheme will be rolled out in May, adding that opinions from the Council of State about its plan to borrow 500 billion baht to finance the scheme would be used to ensure it is rolled out flawlessly.

Prommin Lertsuridej, secretary-general to the prime minister, said the flagship policy of the ruling Pheu Thai Party and the loan bill were legitimate, and the council's input would only help with the scheme's implementation.

Last month, the government sought the council's opinion on whether the loan bill could be enacted to fund the scheme, which aims to hand out 10,000 baht to every Thai aged 16 and above through a digital wallet to stimulate the economy.

Asked if this policy and the annual spending plan would raise the country's GDP this year, Dr Prommin said these were only part of the bigger picture, and the government plans on implementing a diverse range of policies at the same time to give the economy a much-needed shot in the arm.

He said the growth rate of between 2.3% and 3.7%, forecast by the Budget Bureau from the 2024 annual spending plan did not take into consideration the impact of the digital wallet scheme. Moreover, he said the government would see to it that the economy would be gradually strengthened over the next four years.

Democrat list MP Jurin Laksanawisit warned the government on Wednesday not to blame the Council of State if it did not rule in the government's favour. He criticised the digital wallet scheme during the House debate on the budget bill.

Mr Jurin said the government should draw up a contingency plan if the loan bill cannot proceed.

"What if the government is unable to borrow [this sum]? I'll keep asking about the scheme on behalf of the public as long as it has not been implemented," he said.

He also questioned how the government planned to raise the money to repay the loan in case the digital wallet programme was implemented and voiced doubt as to whether it had the ability to do so.

The former Democrat leader also criticised the Pheu Thai-led government for seeking an additional loan of 100 billion baht, noting that Pheu Thai was consistently critical of the previous government's borrowing schemes. He said the government would seek a loan worth 693 billion baht for the 2024 fiscal year, but this would not cover the digital wallet scheme. Debt repayment obligations mean the government would have less money for investments and development, he added.

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